My wife and I can’t seem to get along. No matter how hard I try to please her, she says I am selfish with my choices. I am unaware of how my behavior is selfish and have taken great offense to being called this by her again and again. We have been married eight years and I am afraid this may be something we can’t come back from I’m feeling very resentful. Frankly, I think that she is the selfish one, only concerned with herself. Can you give us any advice?
It is hard to feel safe and have good connection in a relationship if you feel your partner is only concerned with their own needs and is not showing up for you. Most of us tend to pull back and focus on ourselves when we feel this too, which means we can become selfish. This is a recipe for disaster in a marriage, because if everyone is focused on what they aren’t getting — no one is giving anything.
You must accurately understand what causes selfishness though if you want to fix it. We believe the real cause of selfishness is fear of loss, and we all battle fear of loss to some degree every day. Fear of loss is basically suffering over feeling mistreated, taken from, ripped off, walked on, or not getting what you were hoping to get.
Every time your spouse does anything that makes you feel your needs aren’t being met, you may find yourself in a fear of loss, scarcity, hard-done-by state. The second you feel you aren’t getting what you expected, you can be in fear of loss and this drives you to subconsciously focus on protecting yourself, controlling things and getting your own needs met. Fear of losing out creates selfishness.
The question you must ask yourself is how much of the time are you thinking about what you aren’t getting and how often are you focused on meeting your spouse’s needs and giving to them? (The right answer is not what you might think.) Being totally focused on the other person isn't healthy either. It's co-dependent and this creates problems in relationships too. The right answer is to have a good equal balance between taking care of yourself and showing up for your spouse.
Good relationships are created when both partners are working on their own fears of failure and loss, feel secure and good about themselves and know how to ask for what they want and need (so they are responsible for their needs and don’t make it their partner's job to keep them happy.)
It is your job (not your partner's) to make sure your needs are being met and your bucket is kept full. If you are running on empty and are desperate for validation and reassurance, you are good enough, loved and wanted, you are probably not good at asking for what you need and doing self-care. This is the first thing we recommend you both work on. If you make sure your bucket is full, you will always have the energy to give to your family.
But, you could have an unhealthy partner, who despite any amount of self-care, boundaries and speaking up, isn’t interested in showing up for you. If you really feel your spouse doesn’t care and is only in this for themselves, we highly recommend you seek out a coach or counselor, who can help you both work on the relationship. If your spouse is not willing to get professional help, you may have a tough decision to make about what’s right for you moving forward.
Having said that, most of the time selfishness can be fixed if you both recognize your fears of failure and loss, and learn how to get out of them. We believe many of us withdraw when we are triggered by the fear of failure in a relationship, as we feel it’s safer to be alone and protect ourselves, especially if we receive criticism or feedback that is negative.
Your fear of failure is probably getting triggered by your wife’s feedback that you are selfish and this might be making you pull back and even become selfish because you are now focused on protecting yourself. When one spouse reacts in fear (which is selfish) it usually triggers the other person's fears and brings out selfishness in them too.
It sounds like your wife may be suffering with fear of loss, as she feels life is unfair and she is not getting the happy marriage she believed she would have. The fear of loss is triggered any time you feel taken from or your expectations are not met. Fear of loss may also be showing up in you, as you think about the impact of your wife’s criticism and the fact you also don’t have the marriage you wanted.
Instead of staying triggered in these fears you must adjust your mindset about your value, knowing it cannot be diminished no matter what your spouse thinks or says about you, and learn to see this situation as a learning opportunity.
In what ways could your wife’s feedback and comment about selfish behavior be your perfect learning opportunity right now? Would you be open to thinking about how you could use this issue to strengthen your marriage and see her feedback as just her way of trying to ask for the love she needs?
Actually, there is a powerful truth here you must understand -- all bad behavior is really a request for love. Most of the time this person who is attacking you is really subconsciously begging for validation and reassurance to quiet their fears. It is their fears of failure and loss that are driving the attacks. When you see their behavior accurately, you can handle it in a way that will create connection, not conflict.
Many of us are ill equipped with how to see behavior accurately, communicate, and ask for what we need in our marriage in a healthy way. Instead, we create hidden expectations that our spouse is supposed to fulfill, yet we don’t communicate them well, so they aren’t met, and we end up disappointed and even angry at our spouse. Where does the fault really lie for this? We believe it takes two scared people to create this dynamic, so you both have some work to do.
When expectations aren’t met, resentment begins and the label of "selfish" comes in. Instead of accepting this as a fact in your marriage, here are some things you can do:
1. Make time and space for some loving conversations and ask your partner how you could show up better for them, and let them ask you for what they need. ‘Honey, in what way can I support you right now and make you feel more loved?’ Ask your spouse this weekly.
2. Make a rule that neither of you will bring up past bad behavior, but focus only on the good behavior you want and need moving forward.
3. Pick one thing to work on doing to love your spouse better this week.
4. When you feel the triggers of self-pity, criticism or fear show up, remember your value can’t change and is the same no matter what and this is just this week’s lesson the universe has provided to give you a chance to practice being more wise and loving. We are on this planet to grow and learn. We believe your spouse can help you grow by pushing your fear buttons and bringing out your worst behavior so you can work on it, but these experiences are not a curse, they are an opportunity to become more mature, wise, strong and loving.
You can do this.
There is a free worksheet to guide you through having mutually validation conversations with your spouse on our website, and the Choosing Clarity workbook would also really help.
My sons are very close in age: 15 and 17 years old. They seem to have this constant need for competition and they put each other down all the time. As their mom, it breaks my heart that they need to compete like this and that they can’t see the goodness I see in each of them. How do I stop the bickering and the constant competition and make sure my boys leave for college with healthy self-esteem?
Thank you for asking this important question. So many parents ask us this same thing — why is there so much competition between kids?
Realistically this is not a teen or child issue. This is a global issue we see in people everywhere. We see it within families, at work and even between neighbors.
Recently over the Fourth of July weekend, all our street was camped out on deck chairs on driveways lighting fireworks. It was beautiful; there were spectacular sights in every direction. But I overheard our immediate neighbor say out loud to his son, "Go to the truck and get the extra box, we must beat the Johnsons," who live on the other side of the street a few doors up. The question is, what is driving our need for this competition, even as mature adults?
Deep down every one of us, including your boys, is struggling with worthiness. The question they (and we) ask ourselves every day is, are we enough? Do I look good in this? Do my shoes match my earrings? Am I good enough to make the team? Will my score be enough on the test?
We all question every day whether we are enough, what value we have, and how we compare to others. This fear appears both consciously and subconsciously for our children. Every day they mix with other kids who are better, smarter, more capable and more talented than them, and this even happens at home. This is a reality in life, not just childhood, so we must help them build an "emotional resiliency muscle" — this is one of our greatest jobs as parents.
An emotional resiliency muscle is the aspect of yourself that is secure in your personal worth and value, that doesn’t have a need to compare yourself to others and feels secure in the knowingness that your life has purpose and meaning in every circumstance. We want to help you achieve this for yourself and teach it to your children.
Here are the steps to building an emotional resiliency muscle:
1. Remind yourself and your family that we all have the same value all the time and it never changes.
There is nothing your children can do to achieve or earn more value nor lose it. Your neighbor doesn’t lose value when he irritates you, and no one you know is better than you either. Human value is unchangeable and every person is a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable human soul that has infinite worth and value.
Therefore, when your child comes home with a 4.0 GPA you should celebrate their efforts, but remind them they still have the exact same value as their sister who only received a C on her math test, who tried just as hard and did her best.
When we truly show our children we celebrate their efforts, not only their achievements, they understand their value isn’t tied to appearance, performance or property, and they will feel more secure in themselves. For this to really work and improve their self-esteem, it has to be something you talk about daily — that no matter what you do you still have the same intrinsic worth as everyone else. You may not get the rewards that come to those who work harder, which is an important lesson, but your value as a human soul doesn’t change.
2. Teach your children to celebrate their wins and their losses.
This may sound counterintuitive, but when we place the same value on wins and losses and see them both as important parts of our development and growth, we teach emotional resiliency. We do this by highlighting the fluctuations of life and role modeling for them that every circumstance and situation, both the good and the bad, are here to serve us and help us grow. We can show children by example that they can feel safe in every circumstance and we can and do bounce back from failures.
It is important for your children to watch you show this kind of emotional resiliency with life’s ups and downs instead of panicking or becoming despondent. To achieve this, you may need to adjust your perspective to see life as your perfect classroom instead of a test that determines your worth. When you see life as a test, you feel enormous pressure to succeed and compete against life and others. You view it as a mountain that must be conquered, instead of a process of enjoyment where you will grow and be strengthened.
With your current level of emotional resiliency, you can show your kids a realistic picture of life, learning and growth or you can paint a picture of fear about the future and life itself. When we role model strength, wisdom and accuracy about the lessons of life for our children, showing them every moment of life enables us to grow and is here to shape us in some way, we are teaching them to see the universe as for them, not against them.
3. Detach from perfectionism.
Many of us can live lives attached to unrealistic expectations for ourselves, others and our lives in general. Idealism and perfectionism are one and the same, a toxic monster that can make us feel like we are failing constantly. How many times do you find yourself thinking, “If I just earned more money I would be happier,” “If I could just lose this baby weight I would feel better about myself” and “If my children were more obedient we would not be having these problems.”
Emotional resiliency and the happiness that comes from it require us to have correct expectations and intentions for ourselves and our lives. Do you set yourself up to succeed through setting these realistic parameters in which to measure your worth and success or are your children watching you crash and burn constantly because you are engaged in a game of perfectionism? You must show emotional resiliency and set expectations that are practical, logical and pragmatic so you can feel good about your efforts and model this for your kids. If this is hard for you, we recommend you find a coach or counselor to help you let go of perfectionism.
4. Teach your children to be compassionate people.
When we and/or our children put others down to make ourselves feel better, we are not being compassionate people. We must know our intrinsic value without the need to position ourselves as superior or above others to feel good. What you are describing with your sons insulting each other is just this projection of superiority our egos use to cover our insecurities and fear. This is very common for children, teenagers and adults.
Be mindful of your own behavior so you can catch yourself putting another person down, even about something small such as their cooking, housekeeping or ability to drive. It’s hard but important for us to notice our behavior when we do this. Most of this behavior is done subconsciously as our mind and ego play these tricks to make us less threatened in the world. Instead of trying to feel good by placing ourselves above others, we must celebrate our uniqueness and know no matter what others do around us, they and we have unchangeable and infinite value.
Obviously, the most important thing you can do for your kids is to work on yourself and make sure you are modeling confidence, compassion and resiliency yourself.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are the coaches behind Claritypointcoaching.com. You can get free resources on parenting and raising confident kids at http://www.claritypointcoaching.com/worksheetsdownloads
SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice Coach Kim shares questions you can ask yourself to see if you might be the problem in your relationship.
I loved your article on toxic people, but I do have a follow-up question. Toxic people believe they are the ones surrounded by toxic people and that they themselves are not the toxic one. Is there a test or a question we can ask ourselves to determine who is actually the toxic one?
You are absolutely right, many toxic (difficult) people cannot see their part in the "people problems" around them. They are often overly focused on the faults and flaws in other people so they won’t have to look at their own. They usually suffer from a huge fear of failure, which means they can’t handle seeing their bad behavior — it would hurt too much if they did. Instead, they practice psychological projection.
Projection is a subconscious defense mechanism to protect us from pain, and we all do it to some degree. There are three types of projection we want you to understand:
Or a wife who is really bothered when her husband texts while driving, but she does the same thing. She knows she shouldn’t do it and feels guilty about it, though, so it bothers her a great deal when he does it.
We all have a subconscious tendency to project our bad behavior, thoughts and feelings onto others (missing our own issues completely). So how can we ever be sure we aren’t the difficult person? How can we become aware of our real behavior?
First, you might want to ask for candid feedback from the people who know you best. This takes courage, though, because your fear of failure will be triggered by their answers. If you remember you have the same value as everyone else and that can’t change no matter what you do, it is easier to handle though. You may also have to reassure the person you ask and convince them you are really open and can handle the truth because you want to learn and improve. If you really want to be a better person, you may want to ask the people closest to you to share one thing you could do to improve and show up for them better and do this on a regular basis.
If the thought of doing that scares you to death, you may want to work with a coach or counselor to build up your self-esteem first. They may also be a safer place to get feedback from because you don’t have a close relationship (like you do with friends or family).
An objective third-party person can often tell you things a family member or friend would be too scared to say. If you are resistant to both the idea of asking for feedback and working with a coach or counselor because both scare you, you definitely need to get some professional help to change your beliefs around your value and what it means to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, it’s a sign of maturity and strength.
We also believe that no one is broken, bad, wrong or worse than anyone else. We are all just totally different and in a unique classroom journey, which no other person can really understand, and we have the exact same intrinsic value. We all have strength and weaknesses, good behavior and bad behavior, and being vulnerable enough to see yours and ask for help to become better means you are accurate, strong, out of your ego and humble enough to be teachable and ready to grow.
Here are some questions you might also ask yourself to determine if you are the problem or a toxic person:
Don’t have any shame around this. Just own that you may need some life skills you haven’t had the opportunity to learn thus far in your life. It does not make you less valuable than anyone else; it just means it’s time to upgrade your people, healthy thinking and life skills.
It’s time to find a professional you feel safe with to help you change the underlying fears that drive your dramatic, selfish, protective or toxic behavior. You are not a bad person, though. You are just a scared, insecure, worried person, who needs to learn another way to process life and what happens to you.
You can do this, and it’s easier than you think.
To my reader who asked this question: Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that the toxic people in your life would even read this article nor answer the questions honestly. They would feel too vulnerable and their ego would really resist going there. Again, this is just their fears at work. You would have to really reassure them of their value to you and your belief in them to make them feel safe enough to be open to looking in this mirror.
Kimberly Giles is a popular author, speaker and coach. There is a worksheet on her website to help you see if you are the problem in your relationship http://www.claritypointcoaching.com/worksheetsdownloads
SALT LAKE CITY —In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares some tips for surviving your dealings with toxic, difficult people.
Why are ex-spouses so mean and vindictive? I've been divorced almost seven years and my ex still never misses a chance to tell the kids what a loser I am. It can be petty things like,"Your dad doesn't know how to make healthy meals" and "You'll get fat if you stay with him" or "Your dad no longer believes in (our church) and is not capable of loving you like I do because real love comes from Jesus." How do I even address this type of nonsense? I can cook, by the way, let's be clear on that. How do you deal with this kind of person?
You asked a bunch of questions here, so let me address each one, and for my readers, these answers can apply to any toxic person in your life, not just an ex-spouse.
First, you asked, “Why are ex-spouses so mean and vindictive?”
Most of them are committed to a story that casts you as the bad one, and they need to put you down constantly to distract their focus from their own fears of inadequacy and loss. Most hurtful people are hurt themselves and they focus on judging and criticizing you because dealing with their own issues would be too painful. They usually have a huge fear of not being good enough (or being inadequate, broken or messed up in some way). We all have it to some degree and it drives a lot of our bad behavior too.
Having a marriage fail usually triggers the fear of failure in a big way, so most people after divorce (consciously or subconsciously) create a story that casts the other spouse as the problem. They can be very attached to this story because their self-worth is literally dependent on it. They may even need to feed the story and make it bigger by adding new faults and flaws all the time. Adding to this story may even become their safe place and they may spend a great deal of time here.
Remember, they do this to avoid the deep pain that comes with recognizing they might have issues and problems too. The more fear of failure they have, the more committed they may be in blaming you and making sure everyone knows you were/are the problem.
We call this behavior the “Shame and Blame Game” and we all play it to some extent. You might notice it when you forget to do something you promised to do, and instead of owning the mistake, you go off about the stupid people at work that messed your day up. When any shame experience hits you, you will subconsciously jump to the nearest plausible person to blame.
(If you watch for this behavior you will see it in yourself and others all the time. It’s a common tendency of human nature.)
You will also see people (or you might be someone) who is quite judgmental of others and find yourself involved in gossip, criticism and backbiting now and then. We do this because, again, it subconsciously and temporarily distracts us from our own fears of inadequacy. We might also complain about the company, the schools, the government, the church, the neighbors or anyone we can see bad in, because this subconsciously makes us feel like the good guy, in light of how bad all these other people are. This is just a trick our egos play to feel better.
Really toxic people (I’m talking about those that are almost impossible to have a productive, respectful relationship with) are usually deeply afraid they aren’t good enough and are afraid of being mistreated or taken from. They may hide these fears behind a great deal of ego and act very arrogant, but underneath it, they are a very scared person. Seeing them as scared, and not just offensive, will help you to have more compassion and less anger around them.
We consider these types of people toxic because their fears keep them focused, day and night, on getting, doing, saying or creating whatever they need to quiet those fears. In this state, they are very selfish and are mostly incapable of showing up for anyone else. They are so busy guarding, protecting and promoting themselves, they have nothing left to put into relating with the rest of us.
I tell you this, not so you can stand in judgment of them, but so you can have some accuracy and compassion for what’s behind their bad behavior. Having said that, it does not mean you have to continue to deal with them. Your best bet is usually to love them from afar. It is perfectly reasonable to have firm boundaries and stay away from them as much as possible.
It sounds like your ex is one of these fear-driven, scared people, who sink to the level of tearing others down, so they can feel better. It sounds like she has launched a campaign to convince your children she is the good guy and you are the bad guy. That is really sad because, in the end, it is your kids who will be hurt by this behavior. Your ex may also feel threatened by you and be afraid the kids will end up taking your side or liking you better, and this drives even more bad behavior.
Your next question was, “How do I address this type of nonsense? How do you deal with this kind of person?”
Here are some tips for dealing with toxic people:
1. Take the high road. Don’t sink to her level and say negative things about her to the kids.
The kids will figure out on their own the truth about who both their parents are. You show them every day with your behavior. If you continue to be mature, kind, respectful, loving and calm, your kids will adore and respect you no matter what your ex may tell them. If they believe her lies now, be patient because the truth rises to the surface on its own. If they ask you directly about things she says, answer honestly, but be careful not to sink to her level.
2. Remember your value is the same no matter what she says about you.
She cannot diminish you! She can’t change the truth about who you are. Hold onto that and don’t react to her darts. Let them all bounce off and don’t even be offended by them. They can’t hurt you unless you pick them up and stab yourself with them.
3. Choose to see this situation as an interesting classroom that apparently has something to teach you or is meant to grow you.
If you choose to, you can see every experience in your life as something that is here to serve and grow you. If you choose to see life this way, it feels like life is serving you, not trying to crush you. In this place, you will see each experience as a chance to rise and do better or become better.
Take the challenge to rise and be a better version of yourself in spite of (or even through) this experience. I believe difficult people are here to show us the limits of our love and stretch us and help us learn to love (or have compassion) at a higher level. This doesn’t mean you accept abuse from them, but it does mean you handle it with as much class, maturity and kindness as possible— while protecting yourself too.
4. When you have to respond and interact with a toxic person, choose to make yourself bulletproof and undiminishable so that nothing they do or say can anger or upset you.
You are in control of how much another person’s actions affect you. No one can anger or upset you without your participation and willingness to experience that. You are responsible for how upset you choose to be. You may have an unconscious upset reaction to a situation that shows up so fast you didn’t consciously choose it. But as you realize you are upset, you then have the power to choose how miserable and upset you want to stay and for how long.
5. Give yourself a set amount of time (a reasonable amount) to be really angry and upset. Then choose something better.
I usually need 15 minutes to really be mad and upset about what someone said or did, and I make those 15 minutes really count and I allow myself to really suffer in the hurt and anger.
Then, I decide I really don’t want to live in this state because it will hurt me more than the person who upset me. I choose another emotion that I deserve to feel instead. (I sometimes have to take my anger and put it in a closet and lock the door for now. That way I know I can go back in there and dwell in it again if I really need to.) But for now, I will choose something more constructive, like gratitude for what’s right in my life, love for my kids, or kindness toward others.
Do not let other people decide how happy, miserable, peaceful or upset you will be today. Consciously choose for yourself. Choose the emotions inside you in every moment because letting others dictate how you feel is letting them have power over you, which is what they want.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com and is a popular speaker. Get her Don't get Upset Ebook here at this link http://www.claritypointcoaching.com/worksheetsdownloads
How do I deal with in-laws that treat our family horribly but still need and expect our help with money. Their behavior is horrible towards us. My mother-in-law is verbally abusive to my husband, but he feels a need to continue to help his mother financially. I am often asked to choose between helping them and seeing my own family. When this is asked of me, I get very emotional. I hate how my husband and our kids are treated by them.
How do I help in-laws, who are mean to all of us, but still expect our help, without resenting them?
There are two parts to this answer for you. First, I want to explain why you feel resentful giving to people/relatives who are ungrateful, unkind or take you for granted, and it might surprise you that it’s more complicated than you think. But when you understand it this way, you will also know how to choose a different perspective and feel a bit better. Then, I will give you some hints for dealing with rude, difficult people in general.
First, we at Claritypoint Coaching have some ideas about human nature and what drives our behavior. We believe all bad behavior is driven by fear of failure or loss. We believe everyone who is mean or unkind to you is hurting at some level because they are battling some big fears about themselves and their life. They are usually either afraid of failure and feel inadequate, or they fear loss and feel life has been unfair to them, or sometimes they are suffering from both.
Your in-laws sound like they might be in a loss state and feel mistreated (by life, God or the universe) for giving them so many challenges and trials. They may be functioning in a victim state and they could also have some shame around their situation and their lack of funds to take care of themselves, so failure may be in play, too. People who live in this state (experiencing fear of failure and loss) can often be selfish, resentful and mostly focused on themselves. They don’t want to be selfish, but fear by nature affects us subconsciously and keeps us focused on our pain points.
We want you to understand this because these same fears are in play for you and are causing your pain and resentment. (This usually happens when we deal with people who are in fear because their bad behavior triggers our fears and we then end up behaving in a less than loving way too.)
It sounds like you feel mistreated by them and are then asked to help them, too, which makes you feel even more taken from. These relatives are triggering your fear of loss and it is creating the resentment and fear about your own quality of life, and it probably feels bad because you are not functioning in love, which is your real nature. You also know that resentment is self-inflicted misery and totally unproductive. So what do you do instead?
Look at your options and find the most love motivated one.
You will also have to remind yourself that only hurt people, hurt people and their abusive, unkind, rude behavior is a reflection and projection of their own inner pain. They are mean because they are miserable and scared. When you see bad behavior accurately for what it is, it becomes easier to let it bounce off. People can throw insults at you, but you decide if you are going to pick them up and carry them. Don’t do it. Let the insults bounce back to the sender because they are more about them than you.
If you have difficult relatives, co-workers or friends who are this unkind to you, you always have the right to protect yourself and just stay away from them. But if they are people you cannot avoid, you must become bulletproof and not allow them to hurt you. It is not selfish or mean to have healthy boundaries and insist that others respect you and treat you kindly. It is also not selfish and mean to have a limit to what you give to others. It’s healthy and wise.
You must officially give yourself permission to take care of you and have boundaries. You must love yourself and other people, not one or the other. Don’t have any fear around hurting their feelings by enforcing boundaries that are healthy for you. If they are offended and hate you, that is none of your business. Keep being the strong, loving, wise person you are and trust that the universe is in charge of them.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
This was first published on KSL.com
I have been married for over 20 years. During this time, I have tried unsuccessfully to make my wife happy. I have initiated counseling sessions several times only to come out worse for going. I recently had a friend say they think I'm a victim of emotional abuse from my wife. I have tried to see her side of things and understand where my wife is coming from and to even work on myself. But am I using this as an excuse? Do many men get emotionally abused? When do you work on yourself and when do you insist a wife's behavior isn’t ok?
If you want a healthy relationship, you must constantly work on yourself AND you must insist your partner do the same. If your partner is abusive (which we will determine below) and they are unwilling admit their behavior is wrong, change the attitudes that drive the behavior and get professional help, there may be cause for you to leave.
We say this, because you teach people how to treat you by what you allow. If you are willing to keep living with someone who is emotionally abusive, why should they change?
If they know you are too scared to leave or are a pushover, they have no motivation to change anything, and it takes a great deal of motivation for an abuser to change their ways and give up the power they get from the abuse.
We also want to reassure you that abuse by women against men is not uncommon at all. Both genders are actually almost equally abused. One report showed that “40% of victims of severe physical violence are men, who are victimized by their intimate partners, and men are also more often the victim of psychological aggression.” You can read more about this on www.batteredmen.org.
Also, remember we are in the classroom of life to learn about love. So, allowing someone to mistreat you is denying them an important lesson they have coming. It is not ok to disrespect, insult or be cruel to any human being. Someone has to teach that to your spouse and the universe has selected you.
We want to clarify what behaviors constitute abuse though, because some of you are so used to abusive behavior, you actually think it’s normal and therefore ok. Everyone has disagreements with their spouse, but some kinds of fighting behaviors are not acceptable, ever. We believe there are three types of bad behavior that show up in relationships and we want you to recognize them so you know what is okay and what is not.
Here are the three categories of bad relationship behavior:
If you are seeing signs of abuse, you should seek professional help and do something about it right now, especially if there are children in your home. We often hear people in abusive relationships say they are “staying for their children” and don’t want to break up the family. You must understand that even watching this kind of abuse can damage your children. Safe Horizons (a website for victims of abuse) says that without help, children who witness abuse are more vulnerable to being abused themselves as adults or teens, or they are likely to become abusers themselves.
You and your children deserve to feel safe and respected in your home. You should also be able to have mature, rational, mutually validating conversations about problems that arise with your spouse. If your partner can't do that and is tearing down your self-esteem on a regular basis (so you feel miserable and worthless) and you experience fear whenever they are home, you are probably a victim of abuse.
Your rationalizing this behavior as normal makes sense, if it is all you have ever experienced, but it is not normal or acceptable. If you love yourself, your children and your spouse at all, you owe it to them all to seek help. It is time for your spouse and children to learn that all people deserve to be treated with kindness and respect
If you don’t have a religious leader, counselor, or coach to go to for help, start with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, they can point you in the right direction.
We know that change and seeking help sounds scary because ‘the known’ even though it’s bad, feels safer than the ‘unknown’. But you will all grow and learn so much it will be a win in the end. There will be some hard moments, but you are stronger than you think you are, and you deserve better.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
Last year was the worst year ever for me and 2017 has started out pretty bad too. So many things have gone wrong, including my family being ripped apart and my career taking a big hit. I am a good person, I treat others right, and am a giver not a taker. I live my religion and keep the commandments, but I am not seeing the promised blessings at all. I feel God has left me on my own and out to dry. Why do these things keep happening to me? What can I do different to change the course of my life?
Because I don’t know the details that created the situation you are in, I’m not sure what changes you personally need to make to change the results you are getting. I highly recommend you get a good life coach to help you work that part out, but I can tell from your question that some of your fundamental beliefs about life and the nature of the journey aren’t accurate.
This is a common problem because most of us picked up our beliefs about life (that define how we see everything that happens to us) before we were even 7 years old. Most of these are subconscious beliefs so we aren’t (obviously) consciously aware of them and the havoc they create in our thinking. And, if we did look at them and question their accuracy, we would immediately see how flawed they are and disregard them, but because we don’t even realize we have them, we never do.
Here are a few subconscious beliefs about the nature of life many of us have (unfortunately) accepted, which create negative attitudes and feelings and lots of discouragement.
It is very common for us to misinterpret the real reason, point and purpose of our being here and our higher power’s involvement in our lives. The real purpose of this journey is simply to learn and grow to become better, more loving people, and growth requires struggle, challenges and hard times. So, would it make any sense for God to promise you that obedience would get you out of rough experiences? The very rough experiences that are required for you to grow? Would it make more sense to believe that hard times are required so we can learn and become smarter, stronger and more loving?
In my book, "Choosing Clarity," I give readers the opportunity to change many of their faulty subconscious beliefs and replace them with beliefs or perspectives that create less fear and more peace. In the book, I encourage you to choose to view the higher power in the universe as love, not someone to fear. This alone can be a life changing shift. I also encourage readers to choose to see life as a classroom, not a test, where your value is on the line. I also encourage a belief that there is order, purpose and meaning in the universe and it is working with every choice you make, to create the perfect classroom journey for you, every day.
This means your journey cannot be ruined by anyone else, because you will always get the experiences that will facilitate the lessons you need most. So, if someone injures you or breaks your heart, that has to be the perfect next lesson for you or it wouldn’t happen. I encourage my clients to trust the universe that it knows what it’s doing. At least you have the option of playing with this perspective and seeing life this way if you want to. Try this perspective on for a week or two and trust you are right where you are supposed to be, learning your perfect lessons, safe in God’s hands, no matter what happens. Just see how this perspective feels.
I know some of you will be thinking that I cannot prove this idea is truth and it might be delusional or wishful thinking, and you might be right.
But you cannot prove I'm wrong either. You can’t prove the universe is random, chaotic and without order. So, where does this leave us?
This leaves us that we each get to choose our perspective. We can see the universe as conspiring to serve us and bless us at every turn, or we can see it as chaos or ambivalent to our needs. How do you want to see it? You get to choose.
If you don’t consciously choose a perspective that feels best for you though, your subconscious mind will choose for you, and it will probably choose chaos. Chances are this has already happened and it is why you aren’t feeling peace about your life.
So here it is, the big secret to a better attitude when things go wrong in your life (and this secret comes from one of my best coaches, Sean Barnett) lies in changing one little word from the question you asked me above.
Change your question from “Why do these things keep happening to me?” to “Why do these things keep happening for me?”
You could choose to see the universe as a wise teacher constantly conspiring to serve and educate you. You could choose to look for lessons, growth and knowledge in every rough experience that comes your way. You could choose to see every mistake as a lesson you signed up for, because you apparently needed the lesson that mistake would create.
This mindset would mean you always make the right wrong choices you need to learn something from. If you married someone, but it ends in divorce, you married the perfect teacher and the divorce must have served your growth in some way. At least you have the option of seeing it this way if you want to. You might try this perspective and see how it feels.
Here are four new belief options you might use to replace the inaccurate ones above:
Hard times are not a punishment or a sign God has forgotten about you or doesn’t care, but a sign that you have the capacity to grow a lot from this challenge. Take the rough times one day, one hour or one minute at a time, and stay in trust that you will grow past this and better days are coming.
I know this, because it’s the nature of the universe that nothing lasts forever. Rainy days always end and eventually the sun comes back out. If you are really struggling with the hard times consider getting some life coaching with a certified Claritypoint coach (we have options to fit any budget).
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
This was first published on KSL.com
My husband has a lot of hobbies and friends, and he stays very busy. How do I help him balance that better and let go of my resentment when he is having his "me" time? Should I always be number one (like I feel I should) or do I need to be more flexible and let him have his time? I build up a lot of resentment that I can't let go of and I feel like he doesn't want to be with me. He says he does, but he has a lot going on and is always busy. How do I communicate my feelings out of love, instead of resentment, nagging and bitterness?
Before saying anything to him about this, you must figure out what it is you really want. Do you want to spend more time having fun with your spouse? Do you want more time to go have fun with your friends? Do you want him to help out and stay home more? Or do you want your spouse to feel guilty and bad for being selfish?
If you don’t get clear about what you really want, your subconscious programming and your ego may drive behavior that will create something you don’t want. So, take a minute and decide what you really want.
Then, understand resentment around your spouse’s “me time” can be a sign that you aren’t taking care of yourself and getting the “me time” you need. And I hate to tell you this, but you are the one to blame for that.
You are the one who is in charge of taking care of your needs. If you need something more or different in your life to feel happy and fulfilled or supported, you must ask for it and make it happen.
You cannot make your spouse responsible for your self-esteem, happiness and fulfillment. You are in charge of those. If you have trouble doing self-care, you may want to get some coaching to help you get past the guilt issues that prevent you from taking care of your own needs.
It is not selfish to take care of yourself and ask for what you want and need. It’s healthy, and when you realize this and start getting yours, you will also stop seeing your husband's self-care as selfish and you will resent him less.
Also, remember there is a difference between being his first priority and you being all he needs to have a fulfilled life. We are all very different and some of us need friends, hobbies and outside interests to feel fulfilled, while others are totally happy with just their spouse and children. The question isn’t what is right or wrong, but what is right for each of you.
It sounds like your husband may be what we call an “Affectionate” Psychological Inclination. Affectionates have a huge need for friendship, connection, variety, travel and being social. They can’t be happy without it. They thrive on connection and socializing. If your husband is like this, you must decide if you can love him as he is, because it is the way he is wired.
The good news is he also loves his family and spouse a lot and values time with them too. So, if you start planning activities, trips or fun adventures with him, he would love that. If you need to get baby sitters more often so you can go out with friends or have more time away, he would also understand that.
Before you approach him to talk about your feelings about his activities, do these three things:
When you are overly selfless and sacrifice yourself all the time, even a little self-care looks selfish. So, be open to the possibility that you are the one who is actually out of balance, not your husband. I could be wrong though (maybe he is a tad too selfish) and if that’s true, you definitely need to speak up and ask him to get more centered.
Just handle the conversation right by not casting him as the bad guy, and own your issues around not asking for what you need. Then, find a solution to this problem together as a “WE,” not against each other as two “I”s. Whenever you are overly focused on protecting yourself, you are focused on the marriage. This is true because fear and love cannot happen at the same time in the same place.
In each interaction with your spouse, you are either putting more fear or more love into the relationship. If you are feeling taken from, mistreated, defensive and resentful and you are seeing your spouse as the bad guy, you aren’t bringing love, you are bringing fear.
So see your husband as the same as you, as a struggling student in the classroom of life trying to figure this whole thing out the best he can. Let him be the same as you in value and talk to him as a peer, equal and partner. As a team you can figure out how both of you can have a healthier balance between selfish and selfless. If you approach it this way, you both win.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
This was first published on KSL.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, coaches Kim and Nicole share four ways to shift your relationship out of its current rut.
Our relationship has gotten sticky lately because I feel really unsupported by my husband. How do I feel loving, trusting and forgiving towards him, when it isn’t reciprocated? I have recently realized my actions and love are dependent upon his. When he is engaged in the home and helps me, then I will love back. But most of the time he doesn’t help at all, and I feel so drained, like we are unequally yoked, and I have been for so many years. He doesn’t even do the traditional "husband" jobs. How do I love and serve him when he doesn’t show love for me in the way I need him to? I’ve tried and I can’t get past the irritation over his behavior. Am I supposed to forgive this and love him anyway? Shouldn’t he need to change and start showing up for me too?
The answer is YES. Your spouse should do better to pitch in and help around your house, and YOU should love him regardless of whether he does, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay married to him. Loving him from afar is one of your many options in this situation.
Before you choose from those options, though, listen carefully to your inner GPS (intuition) and figure out if it is your perfect classroom to stick with him and love him while you also try to teach him to behave better, or if it’s your perfect classroom to continue on alone. Only you will know which path is your perfect classroom, but if you feel your perfect classroom is still in this marriage, and you still feel drawn to make it work, there are a few things you can do to get this marriage unstuck from its current rut.
This advice will also be helpful for everyone in a relationship right now. Whether you just met and are enjoying that playful "honeymoon" phase or you have a well-established life together and many years under your belt, all good relationships take the same core principles to work.
Here are four ways you can consciously unstick and strengthen any relationship:
1. See your relationship accurately: Remember, you are on this planet for one reason, to grow and learn. Life is a school, and every experience you have is, at some level, there to teach you how to love yourself or other people better. Your marriage is no exception to this rule. You are always drawn to and marry your greatest teacher. You were drawn to this person because they can help you grow by pushing your buttons, triggering your fears and giving you amazing opportunities to work on yourself.
It sounds like your fear trigger is around “the fear of loss,” and your spouse’s disinterest in helping you is triggering this fear and making you feel taken from, mistreated and unloved. Fear of loss can bring unloving and selfish behavior to the surface. Whenever you feel taken from or mistreated, you will want to pull back your love.
Instead, there is a growth opportunity here where you could see the mistreatment as your perfect lesson, and instead of pulling back and being less loving, you could rise to the occasion, turn this moment into a human achievement, and choose to be loving, kind and hardworking without a chip on your shoulder about it.
You could look for opportunities to encourage your spouse and appreciate his good qualities, even if they aren’t the ones you hoped for, and see them as your perfect classroom. This isn’t easy to do, but there is beautiful growth and maturity that could come from this challenge.
Ask yourself what else being married to your spouse could teach you. How else could it force you to grow? How could a spouse who doesn’t help out actually serve you in some way? When you find the answers to these questions, you will be seeing your marriage accurately, and amazing peace will come.
2. Avoid disappointment in your partner: One of the gifts of a loving relationship is the role of support, encouragement and motivation to make each of you better people. However, this support can be loaded with expectations of how things should be and where you feel your spouse should be in their work life, financially, spiritually and emotionally.
All of us wrongfully project potential onto our partners. We see what is possible and we are often disappointed with what is. Disappointment is the biggest poison in a marriage, because it brings even more fear of failure and loss into the relationship, which sucks the love from it.
The irony is that when we see partners accurately for who they are, without projections or expectations about their potential, they are more likely to fulfill their potential and become more to your liking, but this takes unconditional love and patience.
We believe the more encouraging you can be about your partner's strengths, talents and good qualities, instead of nagging about weaknesses, faults and mistakes, the more you will quiet your partner's fear of failure (which we believe is the real cause of all bad, unmotivated, selfish behavior), and he will be able to show up for you better. Keep giving as much positive reinforcement as possible, and even tell him he is the very things you want him to be. This often nudges people in the direction we want, because they like to live up to your highest opinion of them.
3. Choose to serve your partner: One of the kindest ways you can show up for your partner is to ask yourself, “What does my partner need most?” To serve him, you must see him accurately. You must take notice and really look at what he values and what he fears. What stresses, pain, imbalances and pressures are happening there? How is he balancing all of his responsibilities, and is he having his needs met?
Look without judgment or criticism, with only a compassionate and loving heart, and ask, “How can I serve my partner and love him in a deeper and more impactful way?” We believe that becoming the cure to a partner's core fear (either failure or loss) is the way you can serve your partner best.
If your spouse is doing battle with a big fear of failure (which I would guess he is since he knows he isn’t living up to his potential), he may really need validation of his intrinsic worth and to hear that he has value. You may find giving him some validation quiets his fear and shame and even motivates him. If he is just not a motivated person, look for other qualities about him you can validate and appreciate.
4. Take care of your own needs: You are the one responsible for your own happiness. Figure out who you are and what you need to fill up your bucket so you can handle giving to your spouse and family. What do you need so you have the energy and capacity to keep caring for others?
We work with many couples who have found themselves lost in this misalignment, disconnected from their own needs and showing up only for their families and harboring a great deal of resentment about it.
You must own the responsibly for your own self-esteem and happiness. So, what do you need in your life to feel fulfilled, happy, confident and joyful? What do you need to give yourself permission to do so your bucket is full and you have something to give? What are you doing to strengthen your own understanding of who you are and what you are here for?
It may be time (or long overdue) for you to engage in some personal development or coaching and find your balance and truth, which in turn could greatly strengthen your marriage. You may want to start with our DIY coaching program workbook or hire a coach.
It sounds like you and your spouse are very different from each other. You value tasks and getting things done, and he might not share these values. He might value other things that aren’t worse, just different than yours. Most of us believe the way we are is the right way — but that’s a matter of perspective, it's not fact.
Your spouse has different fears and values, and understanding those is the first step to a better connection. You may want to take our free online Clarity Assessment to see your fears and values on paper and see if your spouse would do the same. We also recommend coaching or counseling with a relationship expert. A little help makes a huge difference.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. Nicole Cunningham is a human behavior expert and master coach.
This was first published on KSl.COM
I work in an office with all women and there is so much cattiness, fighting, gossiping and judging that it is a pretty unpleasant place to work. I realize you might say I should leave and find another job, but jobs that work with my schedule and pay this well are hard to find. Is there anything I can do to be an agent of change or influence others to be kinder and more compassionate to each other? Or is there a way I can at least stay above it all and not let it bother me so much?
Unfortunately, businesses who have a lot of female employees often have more office drama and gossip than offices with more male employees, but we also get calls from human resources directors whose companies are going through a merger, have high stress environments or are in fast growth, because stress and change always create people problems.
This happens because change and stress cause fear of failure and loss issues to rise to the surface, and these two fears are the hidden cause behind most bad behavior and relationship clashes. If the issues can’t be resolved by HR, they often bring us in for executive coaching and performance evaluations to figure out and solve these people problems fast.
Every single employee brings some pain, stress and fear around their families, money or relationships to work with them every day. These pressures in their personal lives mean they come to work almost every day in a fear state.
People functioning in a fear state will be easy to offend and quick to feel criticized, taken from, threatened or unsafe. These employees may be subconsciously looking for mistreatment and they could have a short fuse and a rather selfish viewpoint. Understanding the fear behind the behavior is the key to gaining compassion for them and seeing their gossip and bad behavior accurately.
Every person in your office is fighting a battle at home you know nothing about.
They are very likely in pain and fear, at some level, almost every day, and this is the real cause of their bad behavior. If you want to change how you feel at work, you must get a more accurate perspective about bad behavior and you must not take it personally.
People behave badly because of their fears about themselves. It is rarely about you.
Also remember — it is only hurt or hurting people that hurt people. This means the people whose behavior is bothering you most are the people in the most pain about their value and their journey. Bad behavior is always a sign of inner suffering.
We talk a lot in our articles about the two core fears (the fear of failure and the fear of loss) and how they drive human behavior. The truth is, whenever people are in a fear state they are completely focused on one thing: getting anything or doing anything they can to quiet the fear.
In this state they are incapable of thinking about what others may need or want. All they can focus on is "What would make this fear or pain stop?"
If someone functions in fear of failure, they are deeply afraid they might not be good enough. When the fear is bad and they experience shame or feel insecure, one of the most common ways they react (subconsciously respond) is they focus on any bad in the people around them.
The more they focus on other people's bad behavior, they don’t have to think about their own. We call this the Shame and Blame Game and we all play it at times. The more shame we feel, the more we blame others, criticize and gossip. I suspect many of the gossipers in your office are doing so, because they’re covering their deep insecurities or shame.
If any of you are prone to gossip yourself, ask yourself if your fear of not being good enough might be in play. Be aware of the safety you might feel if you put others down or focus on their bad. The first step to changing any bad behavior is being conscious of why you do it.
If someone functions from a fear of loss, they are deeply afraid of being taken from, mistreated or losing control. These people may be territorial, defensive, protective or controlling and they will be quick to be offended and see mistreatment everywhere, even when it’s not there.
We want you to understand the real cause of bad behavior so you will have more compassion for yourself and the people you work with. We recommend you don’t try to "stay above it" though, as that can be a place of judgment looking down at the "bad" people involved and that isn’t accurate as we all have the same intrinsic value.
Just see bad, immature gossip or dramatic behavior accurately, as fear-driven behavior that happens when people are afraid they aren’t good enough and need to look for the bad in others to distract them from their own.
If you see bad behavior accurately you may also see what these people need, which is to quiet their fear, so they can stop criticizing others to feel better. What they need is validation and reassurance about their worth. This is often the last thing you feel like giving someone who is acting haughty, arrogant or better than others, but it is what they need.
Look for opportunities to point out kindness, compassion and good behavior in your gossiping co-workers. Tell them often how grateful you are to work with such kind, encouraging and non-judgmental people.
You may even say that when you first came to work there you heard a lot of gossip and backbiting, and you are so grateful that doesn’t happen as much anymore. Tell the people who do it the most how positive they are and you admire the way they never say an unkind word about anyone.
I know this may seem like lying, but it’s really helping them see who they have the potential to be before they even show up that way. This positive encouragement literally encourages better behavior, because people always want to live up to your highest opinion of them.
When you point out their good qualities you literally push them in that direction. This is the most compassionate way to encourage better behavior. When you help them to see their light, instead of their darkness, you push them toward being their best.
It may also help you to remember that all unloving behavior is a request for love. Every unkind word or fearful reaction is a request for validation and reassurance they are good enough.
This is true for the people in your home, too. We have seen one person completely change the culture at work or home by just giving more compliments and validation to the team. When people start to feel safer, more appreciated and even admired at work, they are happier and show up with more respect and kindness.
Go get them with your positive uplifting attitude and help them rise into better behavior. Don't criticize or point out their bad behavior because that will increase their fear and will only make it worse.
If you do all this and they still remain in negativity and drama, see this as your perfect classroom, take nothing personally and work on being a source of light and love in your office anyway.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are the founders of claritypointcoaching.com and Identiology.com. They are human behavior experts who help companies and individuals to be their best.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and is a
popular life coach, author and speaker. She was named
one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly
on local and national TV and Radio.